“Do I love my country?”, this is a question that I have asked myself many times.
Last time it was when I was traveling to Poland, sitting in a train wagon and staring out the window. I was looking at the snowfields in the countryside surrounded by mountains of Northern Italy, enjoying the majesty of Nature. Eventually, I arrived in Poland, and once there the guide who toured us was very enthusiastic about Italy and talked about it with a light in her eyes that I have seen a very few times before.
Her accent and everything about Poland, took me back to when I was in Russia studying the local language. I used to meet Russians that were as enthusiastic about my country as the Polish guide was. Looking at Italy from the outside and from a foreigner’s eyes made something grow inside me; the awareness that yes, I was madly in love with my country, so beautiful that you cannot not be proud of it.
This feeling was totally new to me but also a little bitter because, on the other side, Russians have a stronger sense of belonging than we do and, respecting and loving their country is a value as important as doing it with your family or friends. I felt sorry for that: we must admit that we do not have that in Italy. Maybe it is because of our history, for which we have always been kind of divided. Italians usually feel close to each other and to their motherland only when they are abroad or during football games. But do I love Italians?
I love how smart, passionate, artistic, clever, stylish, charming and charismatic they can be. When they find creative solutions or pull them out of nowhere; the carefulness, emotionalism, the love they can feel. I hate when they (often) break rules thinking it is not such a big deal, the individualism, ignorance, the laziness. How they can act when abroad, very impolitely; the presumption about having the one and only best cuisine in the whole world.
Even though I despise stereotypes, which the things stated above could seem to be full of, I believe that every Italian would understand what I mean. And it is important to talk about who contributes to make Italy what it is, since you cannot separate the country from the people composing it, otherwise it would be just a beautiful pristine place as it used to be before civilization. Therefore, I realized that, as an Italian citizen, I will always have the responsibility of keeping up the name of my country. And you know what? I like this ambassador role.